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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4059 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

For example, recent research has shown that ease of supply - and perceived ease of supply - can influence children's attitudes towards smoking, and can also undermine health messages.

If we are to tackle the enormous consequences of tobacco use - and to make serious efforts to reduce them through prevention measures - it would be ludicrous to turn our backs on tobacco retail outlets.

While tobacco retailers are involved in the sale of a legal product, this is a product which has been age-restricted for many years and which, according to medical authorities, will kill half of the people who use it.

Tobacco products are clearly unique: they are the only commonly available consumer product which kills when used exactly as intended.

The same can't be said about ballpoint pens, bread, bus tickets, magazines, oil filters, lottery tickets and other products that tobacco retailers might sell.

On average, the two-pack a day smoker will spend more than 3 hours a day inhaling 44 known or suspected carcinogens, will face an increased risk of lung cancer, heart disease and a host of other debilitating diseases and conditions, and will lose 17 years of life - about 5 minutes of life for every cigarette smoked.

Recent calculations from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have revealed that tobacco smoking is responsible for 12% of disease in men and 7% of disease in women, and the rates for women are rising dramatically.

There is no doubt that tobacco retailers are in the frontline - but it is tobacco companies who have put them there, through 'over-the-top' advertising and promotion and through incentives that encourage retailers to buy more, promote more, and sell more.

Most of the ACT's tobacco retailers are responsible and conscientious about staying within the law; however, the actions of an irresponsible few can completely undermine the efforts of the law-abiding, majority, and can result in cigarettes being provided to any child who fronts up with the money.

It would be a mistake to think that the Government's proposed licensing amendments are somehow just about tobacco retailing - tobacco retailers and wholesalers have no argument with licensing, and in fact strongly support a fair and effective licensing system.

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